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EDITORIAL: The Growing Allure of Warhammer Fantasy

5 Minute Read
Mar 10 2014

I’m not going to lie, I have always been a 40k fan and never really saw the appeal of Fantasy. Lately though I am finding myself drawn towards GW’s original setting and heres why.

My Nurgle Lord, the model that sold me on starting Fantasy again

I always thought that Warhammer Fantasy lacked in uniqueness compared to 40K. It hit all of the generic fantasy checkmarks with a few unique extras thrown in such as the Skaven and Lizardmen. To me this just seemed, well, boring. There is nothing else out there right now that compares to 40K and its lore, it is one of the single most unique science-fantasy settings out there. Yes I know, everyone says it copies a lot of its lore from other sources, which it might, but it combines it all into something that is, to me, brand new.

My Firebelly – Final Cut 2012, First Cut 2013

I tried to get into Fantasy a few times, first with a Hordes of Chaos army in 6th edition and then again when they came out with the Demon list for Storm of Chaos and I also tried my hand at Empire around the same time. Just something about the lore and the gameplay turned me away. People have always said that Fantasy is the more tactical game where as 40K was more forgiving. I always interpreted that as Fantasy was basically chess with fancier playing pieces and 40K was all about the narrative. The majority of the WAAC players at the time played Fantasy and I didn’t want any part of it. Then 8th edition hit and everything changed. Glancing over the rules everything seemed more random, more fun and more about having a good time as opposed to who can guess measurements the best.

Savage Orc Boss – Silver, Fantasy Single Mini GD 2012

Its at this same time that the model quality started going through the roof. To be fair it started a bit earlier with the Skaven release and then the Island of Blood box. The quality they were able to get out of the plastic models astounded me. What really was the icing on the cake was the start of the plastic character models. I found myself drawn to them when I wanted a challenging, varied and fun model to paint. I have generally picked a Fantasy model as my main project to work on for Golden Demon. This was true in 2012, 2013 and is already planned for 2014.

Chaos Lord – Final Cut, GD 2013

Not only did the rules become more fun, the model quality surpass my wildest expectations, but the lore and look of each army started to become more solidly Warhammer as opposed to just another fantasy. Now a lot of people out there think GW might overdue it with their skull obsession, they are on everything, but you know what, thats Warhammer! Its one of those little details that really gives Warhammer a unique stamp compared to other fantasy settings. The larger plastic monster kits also really lent to this. Lets use the Empire as an example. They are arguably one of the more generic races in WFB, partly due to the fact that they are us, the average humans. They have the whole Germanic feel going for them, which is sort of unique but besides that could have fit in to real history without much shoehorning. Well the Demigryph Knights and Lunimark of Hysh kits have quashed that. Now those are Warhammer! They are just plain cool, over the top and a little bit crazy. I feel like the novels from Black Library have stepped up the game as well with fleshing out the background with their Times of Legend series.

Tomb Herald – First Cut, 2013

Every army has several unique units now that really set it apart and I don’t think they have had a bad release for Fantasy in the models department since the Miniotaurs for Beastmen. Tomb Kings have been my favorite ever since 6th edition and with their new book and models in 8th I took the dive into starting a full army. I focused on them solely for a few months but eventually my attention became divided to other projects. Recently though they caught my attention again and I am preparing to hopefully finish enough of my army to play a decent sized game. I also plan on getting some of the new Dwarfs to paint up for this years Golden Demon.

One of my more favorite models in my growing army

I never thought I would fall for Fantasy, but it has happened. Games Workshop has really stepped up their game with it over the past year or 2 and while it may not be on par with 40K yet in the lore department its definitely getting there. I know a lot of people here complain about it and think the game is broken, but something is only as broken as you are wiling to break it. In my opinion this is the renaissance of Warhammer Fantasy and I only think it will continue to get better.

My chariots racing towards a bright future

What are your thoughts on Fantasy? Do you agree with me that it has been improving over the past few years or are you going to be sticking strictly with the grim darkness of the far future?

Tyler is a life long painter and hobbyist and took home his first Golden Demon award at the 2012 Chicago Games Day with a follow up at the 2013 North American Games Day. More of his work can be found at his blog, Mengel Miniatures.


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